Monday, February 29, 2016
Go on Reckless 8-Bit Police Car Chases in Smashy Road
Sometimes, the best video games are the simplest to play and the most addictive in their appeal. They may not have complex plots or high resolution graphics, but such things don't matter if the games keep you coming back for more ... and more ... and more. This was the plan of success for most early game consoles and popular coin-op arcade games during the '80s. It is also the popularity strategy for Smashy Road, an isometric retro racing game by Bearbit Studios. Read on for my complete review.
The premise behind Smashy Road is straightforward: Players steer a vehicle through a seemingly endless landscape of buildings, roads and bridges in order to avoid capture by pursuing police cars. The longer players dodge the police, the higher their scores will be. As soon as the vehicle is caught, the game ends and players can start again.
Seeing just how much over-the-top vehicular wreckage and property damage one can cause during a car chase is the source of Smashy Road's addictive game play. Players can drive their vehicles over almost any surface (roads, grass and sand) and knock over just about any object (fences, lamp posts, trees, etc.), thus allowing them to lead the police cars through various different locations (airports, construction sites, parking lots, etc.). Smashy Road's graphics emulate the blocky 8-bit look of early arcade coin-op and home console games; depending upon the kind of damage they sustain, objects will either shatter or explode into smaller 8-bit cubes. Furthermore, the pursing police force gets progressively larger as the chase continues, so some of the multi-car pileups that ensue are truly spectacular. If players can avoid capture long enough, even the military gets involved in the chase with humvees, tanks and attack helicopters.
Adding to the pandemonium is the selection of vehicles players can use. Players begin the game with only a yellow pickup truck, but other vehicles can be unlocked as players earn in-game money. Some vehicles are just 8-bit renditions of actual cars, while others are based on iconic vehicles from popular movies and TV shows such as The A-Team and Back to the Future. For maximum absurdity, the best vehicles are those that are outrageous in both concept and build (such as "Tank Destroyer", the semi truck/tank hybrid) and those that are the least likely to be involved in an actual police car chase. If leading an armada of police and military vehicles on a high-speed chase with just a go-kart doesn't put a dopey grin on your face, then you probably wouldn't appreciate the goofy, destructive fun that Smashy Road has to offer.
I can't think of a higher recommendation for this title other than this: If Smashy Road really was a coin-op arcade game, it would have devoured a mountain of my quarters by now. It is currently available for both cell phones and tablets.